Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hanging Loose 98

Hanging Loose 98

Hanging Loose Press

ISSN 0440-2316

2011 $9.00

Hanging Loose is consistent, the writing is modern and it tastes like
a wedding cake we devour twice a year. An old tradition is to take a slice of that wedding cake and set it under your pillow for a night. Magically the person you are to marry will appear in your dreams. So I've put this issue under my pillow.I don't get it, that is I don't dream of my next husband but I do get to read many good poems in many different forms.


we can still hear the wicks of candles crumbling,

the spindled folding

of an umbrella in the hall.

Our lashes slowing like dying insects,

light hardening our bodies to salt.

When you go you'll leave a scent like lavender

or fog, maybe

on my pillow.

It takes little to start a religion,

so strong is the desire for grace

a visitation of light on your shoulder,

a kiss like sleepwalking in an open field."

There are 16 pages and 8 poets of high school age that I relate to in a big way"

"When you are in love,

the devil wears sundresses.

You forget the burn"

And each poem resonates with expectation. Each poem is masterful because the poemsare present and do not try to exceed the language of another age. Each poem ismiraculous in that it encompasses a timelessness. The poets marry their wordsto their voice.

"To those who cannot find what to believe in, there are always more possibilities hanging in the air than what anyone could ever wish for. Sometimes if you pokeit hard enough it will reluctantly give birth to an elephant, one that comes inselectable colors, much like furniture and the free toothbrushes dentists push ontheir patients. Likely being the patient in any given case, you really cannot refuse the free toothbrush, however swooningly maroon or fluorescently turquoise you have

chosen it to be, and likewise, such an elephant, manifest through the powers that beand a healthy amount of faith on your part, finds itself exceedingly hard to get rid of..."

If you miss this issue you'll miss what it means to become a poet.


In preschool you told your mom that you wanted to marry me. You told her that youwere going to get down on one knee and give me everything that you had, everything you could promise to offer. You told me about it only last year during chemistry class but sometimes we still laugh about it when we see each other..."

irene koronas

poetry editor:

Wilderness House Literary Review


Ibbetson Street Press

Friday, June 17, 2011

All in Good Time by Paul Hudon

All in Good Time
Paul Hudon
Poems 2005-2006
Loom Press 2011
ISBN 078-0-931507-29-8

It takes me awhile to get beyond the formatting of dates and lines that separate the poems kept in liturgical order, sorry i mean in calendar, patch work, starting with 1 October-26 September.

"It was none of the bones in the poet's bag of tricks.
It wasn't meter or metaphor or simile. It wasn't me
pretending to know what it is to be a salmon,
and setting it down for others to read. No shaman
identification. None of that. It was me only being
me inside the fish,..."

This poetic journal, poetic journey, Hudon journalizes, "all in good time" is an epic poem,it scans in epic proportions, in sometimes surreal feel, political epilogues, and landscape proportion.

"That one with the stucco crap over the door.
Used to be one enormous wrought iron gate
between the courtyard and the street,..."

Paul Hudon's writing, his poems are open, contemporary, they inspire, invite the reader in. His language resolves, intimate interiors and at the same time his language denotes exterior happenings. His language lets the reader except their own language.

" Was a time your mother wouldn't
talk to me. Ignored me like I was
wallpaper. Just plain foolish,
she finally said, sniffy
as a schoolmarm. Was when
I promised to be her kind of
fool. Plain is fine, I told her,
but allow me a little I, would you?
Otherwise, I'm just an other pain.

She rolled her eyes and I was in."

Hudon's time textures new meanings, weaving days into a year, tying influences into,

"A syntactic con
she called it
a fabulation
the singular
the unparalleled original
she went on
of our trinitarian
the simplest
excised from
our endless blather..."

An obvious master, the reader will take what is a given. The reader can read the poems in part or as a whole.

"Stuffed animals
marble gods
given life
yours & mine"

irene koronas
poetry editor:
Wilderness House Literary Review


Ibbetson Street Press

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Feed My Sheep by Sharon L. Brown

Feed My Sheep
Sharon L. Brown

Review by Rene Schwiesow

As a child Sharon Brown enjoyed drawing. The time she spent with her art became a source of comfort throughout her life. While in the hospital receiving radioactive iodine treatments for thyroid cancer, she developed a character, which she named Patty. In her time of hospitalized isolation, she drew Patty in many situations, feeling that others may identify with Patty in their time of struggle as she had.

Brown received her certificate in women’s ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was there that she realized she should add messages to her drawings of Patty. When I initially received the book, I perceived it as a children’s story. The cover is a brightly hued, animated drawing of Patty sitting on a rock and surrounded by a flock of sheep. She holds a shepherd’s crook in her hand. The book is only 19 pages, printed in an 8 ½ x 8 ½ inch format, and filled with colorful Patty illustrations.

It was not until I began to read the back cover that I realized “Feed My Sheep” was written for women of all ages. The messages in the Patty stories are intended to inspire, encourage, and offer the opportunity for reflection.

From understanding personal spiritual gifts, to weathering life’s storms, to faith, prayer and finding wisdom within, Brown’s messages look to help facilitate growth, healing, and a release from life’s everyday stresses through practicing meditations on biblical scripture.

“Feed My Sheep” is an easy-to-read book with a devotional slant. It can be read straight through in less than a half hour and read many times over when encouragement is needed. Christian women looking for a moment to brighten a stressful day will find respite in Brown’s Patty stories.

Rene Schwiesow is co-host of the popular South Shore poetry venue: The Art of Words in Plymouth, MA.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lummox in the Library ( Click on title for more info)

Lummox in the Library - an ongoing fundraiser

Donate $25 (via Pay Pal) and Lummox will send a book from our catalog (either you pick or I will) to a library of your choice. World donors please add $10 to cover extra postage if your choice is outside the US. A sticker designating that "this book has been donated by (name)" will be attached to the inside cover.

Two ‘Queer’ Somerville Playwrights Examine ‘The Nitty Gritty’

(Katie Liesener)

(Erica Berman)

Two Queer Somerville Playwrights Examine ‘The Nitty Gritty’

By Doug Holder

You know when two people have a good working relationship. Like any good friendship they finish each other’s sentences; they laugh at private jokes; the chemistry is hard to miss. This is true of Somerville Playwrights Erica Berman and Katie Liesener. These two women are co-producing a play “The Nitty Gritty” that will showcase on June 25th at Cambridge’s YMCA Theater at 7:30PM.

I met the pair at one of my favorite Union Square hangouts Bloc 11 (The other being the Sherman Cafe), on a cool June morning. Both women agreed that for them Somerville is truly “The Paris of New England.” They are constantly inspired by our creative burg. Although they met in Brookline, Mass. their shared Somerville backgrounds gave them an immediate connection.

Liesener said she hopes their play will present a different aspect of the “Queer Conversation.” Both women feel that Gay Theater is often a lot of sizzle but not enough steak. Liesener opined “It is full of glam, glitter, Gay Pride, undressing, but the everyday “Nitty Gritty” of day to day life has not been adequately addressed.” Issues of Gay community, and yes even the use of a dildoe, will be part of the conversation among the different women portrayed in the play.

Katie Liesener was a journalist for a number of years, writing for The Boston Globe, and the Community Newspaper Corporation. Although she thinks journalism is very valuable training for a writer, it sort of straightjacketed her. She said: “I always had to be objective; I couldn’t tell my own story—I could not interject myself into the article.” So she gave up journalism and gained the “Freedom to talk about my own experiences for once,” she said.

Berman, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Emerson College, runs the Watertown Children’s Theater, where she currently directs 60 kids under the age of 13in main stage shows. Berman said” I work six days a week. I am involved with the full artistic vision—lighting, costumes, sets, etc… I love it and I love working with children.”

Liesener and Berman count as their role models the playwright Lisa Kron and the Five Lesbian Brothers. Even so their own work smacks of their own original signature.

Liesener who teaches writing at Emmanuel College, said teaching does not detract from her own work. She reflected: “I find that when I teach I rediscover what’s important in writing. I become more aware.”

Both artists are clear that they have to hustle to keep those wolves from the door. Berman also teaches at a private school, and Liesener said she lives cheaply, but quite happily.

As I left Bloc 11 and walked by the cafĂ©’s window, I noticed the playwrights still talking animatedly, creative sparks flying—I hope they turned the fire alarm off.

*** For more info go to

Monday, June 13, 2011

SMALL PRESS COLLECTION AT ENDICOTT COLLEGE ( Click on title for link to collection)


Doug Holder, Adjunct Instructor of English and head of the office of the Ibbetson Street Press at Endicott College (Beverly, Mass.) has started a small press book collection with the help of Brian Courtemanche Director of Endicott's Halle Library, and his staff: Audrey Koke and Kristyl Roderiques. Holder, a widely published poet, and arts editor of The Somerville News, has long run his own lauded independent small press and literary magazine "Ibbetson Street" from his home in Somerville, Mass. Holder has long admired the great small press collections at the University of Buffalo and Brown University, and has always wanted to bring books of poetry, novels, etc..from the vast and eclectic sea of independent presses from this country and abroad to Endicott College. The Library's website now has a link to the collection: and it will be updated twice a year. The books listed so far are only a small portion of the books received.

We hope to have an extensive collection and we would love for you to be part of it. Send your donations to :

Endicott College
Halle Library
ATTN: Brian Courtemanche
376 Hale St.
Beverly, Mass.

Review of ATOMIC ROMANCES, MOLECULAR DANCES by Mala L. Radhakrishnan

Review of ATOMIC ROMANCES, MOLECULAR DANCES by Mala L. Radhakrishnan, illustrated by Mary O’Reilly, copyright 2011, ISBN 978-14583-3192-2, paperback, 144 pages, $14.95

Review by Barbara Bialick

This book of “Chemistry Poetry” as the author calls it, is a clever compilation of word play fun for scientists, poets who find science fun to study, as well as a tool for science teachers. It is packed with rhymes on such topics as “The Atoms’ Family”, (Periodic Trends), “The Proton Personals” (Quantum Mechanics and Orbitals), “Ethanol, My Children”, and “The Alpha Personality” (Biochemistry and Cellular Biology)—“The loveliest partner that I could find/Is waiting right here for me to bind…”

I dived right into the Quantum Mechanics section to see what I could see. In “Guiding Light” it begins, “Hello there, good Doctor. My name is Leon,/emitted last night by an atom of neon. Because I am light, I’ve got reason to rave,/For I can exist in both particle and wave…/But I’ll get to the point, Doc, ‘cause you’re in a rush./My problem is simple: I’ve got a huge crush/on an atom whose life I could make a lot brighter/if only she’d let in my light to excite her!”

After all, “Many say love’s got strange dynamics--/Not so if you know your quantum mechanics!”

The author, Mala L. Radhakrishnan is a biophysical chemist and a faculty member in the Chemistry Department at Wellesley College. She earned her A.B. in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from M.I.T. She does research in the field of computational biomolecular analysis and design and has a great interest in the teaching of chemistry.

The illustrator, Mary O’Reilly is a freelance science illustrator and adjunct faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of San Diego. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from M.I.T. Her “dual career” involves teaching and illustration.

As we learn, potential love is always nearby if the right forces, atoms, and chemicals come together, so don’t give up if this sounds like you…”I’d rather just end it all now with a pistol/Than live out the rest of my life in this crystal/…”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Longing for the Mother Tongue by Joseph Farley

Longing for the Mother Tongue by Joseph Farley, March Street Press, Greensboro NC, 2010.

Review by Carol Hamilton

On my first read-through of LONGING FOR THE MOTHER TONGUE, I experienced the satisfaction felt when I hear another articulate feelings I have had. Joseph Farley, longtime editor of AXE FACTORY, has released this slim volume of 16 poems with March Street Press. In it, he has found a graceful and deeply felt way to express his reactions to life's disorienting changes.

These poems will speak especially to those who have lived in two worlds. The author writes of living inside his past ( home, native tongue, a known self and comfort) while living a new life with its excitement, exoticism, freshness, but also with its frustrations and even incomprehensibility.

The first poem of this series is a simple love poem which works to set up the contrasting realities the poems explore. The poem speaks of black and white photographs of the beloved from an earlier era seen against the
full-color, flesh and blood, aging but present reality. The two images are held together by love, but in a tension that struggles to understand how these two realities are truly one.

From this universal emotion, so clearly and simply evoked, Farley moves into his theme in the next poem, "Welcome to Ji'an." Complex events and backgrounds are shared in this narrative piece presented with Oriental understatement and slender line breaks to create an Eastern feel to the pages. The ex-pat tells of being saved, while trying to save his own son, by Lao Wai Po, great grandmother of 90 years, while being attacked by a gang of construction workers angry at his:

golden hair,
among a sea
of black hair.

The author comes away from the encounter feeling he must be very ugly to cause this violent anger, though he knows he has done nothing wrong. Still, he found:

I stayed away
from mirrors
for the rest of my stay
what I might find
looking back at me.

Farley's title poem, "Longing for the Mother Tongue," expresses the yearning the ex-pat feels for the comfort and the rhythms of one's language heard in the womb, the quicksilver understandings so little appreciated until its facile use is of no use:

Stammering idiot
babbling nonsense
to the locals,
they cannot understand
my words.

The story becomes even more difficult when he comes to realize that even those closest in this new world, new family, have no understanding of his own beliefs. There is not a world view that can be truly shared. This difficult truth is forced to the surface with the events of Tieneman Square.

In "The Eye of the Beholder" the author realizes how time changes even the common threads of youthful desire for freedom:

Money makes things good,
or so it seems,
and history is a dusty book
sitting on a shelf.

In the end, one understands that there will never be an ideal understanding between different worlds. The father tries to help the son understand the importance of night soil, despite his own disgust.

The child of such unions is the one who finally melds the two worlds, as expressed in the short piece, "East Meets West." But then the same muddling of tongues takes place again, this time between the generations,
which have once again come together from different worlds.

These poems, Oriental in their simplicity and understatement, but full of Western sentiment, express a confusion and near despair which is somehow redeemed by love: love for the old life, love for the new life, and a deep love for the people and places never fully understood. This collection confronts us with our human condition. Farley's work is a sweet way to swallow this bitter pill.


***Carol Hamilton is a writer and storyteller born in Enid, Oklahoma and graduated from Midwest City High School. She has a BS degree from Phillips University and an MA in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. She lived in Connecticut, Scotland, New York, West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana before returning to Oklahoma. She taught elementary school in North Haven, Connecticut, Indianapolis Indiana, and Tinker Elementary on Tinker AFB and helped develop and teach for the last 12 years of her public school career in the elementary gifted school for Mid-Del Schools, the Academic Center for Enrichment. She was Teacher of the Year for Mid-Del Schools in 1982.

She taught in the English Department of Rose State College for 10 years and 7 years on the graduate faculty of the Creative Studies Division of the English Department for the University of Central Oklahoma. She has also taught Spanish, astronomy, and creative writing in continuing education programs for Rose State College, Oasis, the Vo-Tech System, and other programs. She translates for an Oklahoma City health clinic for women and children and often goes as a translator for medical teams working in Third World countries. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Central Oklahoma for 2007.